If your fridge door doesn’t shut tightly when you close it, it will let in warm air and possibly spoil the goods stored inside. But of course, you already know this! You want an answer on how to get the damn thing to shut automatically and tightly. Hold just a second cowboy, because there can be many problems causing this issue. You’ll need to check your fridge carefully first and see which one it is you’re facing. I assure you, if it’s one of these six very common problems, you’ll be able to fix it in no time:
1. Check for items blocking the door from the inside
That could be a food container, drawer or shelf you didn’t close properly or it’s stuck because of some item. If that’s the problem, repositioning the items around and fixing the interior part that’s blocking the door will fix the problem.
2. The door is crammed with heavy items
If the refrigerator door holds gallons of milk and similar items, these can cause misalignment over time, pulling the door downward. It can also mess with the hinges and the closing cam of the door. So if you are overloading the door, simply removing some of the items could solve the problem.
3. Check the fridge door gasket (seal)
Another common problem is plain old dirt forming on the door’s gasket. This is the rubber strip that goes around the doors edges. It can sometimes wiggle loose or get dirty.
If the gasket is loose:
In that case simply pushing it back into the groove where it’s supposed to be will get the job done. Move your hand near all across the gasket. If you notice a gust of cold air in some place, that’s where the gasket usually needs to be pushed back in. To make the job easier, put some petroleum jelly into the groove underneath the loose rubber. This will make it easier to push the gasket into the groove.
If the gasket is dirty:
The dirt on door gaskets is hardly noticeable unless you look for it. But it can prevent the door from sealing tight, so definitely check out for any grimy particles if the problem persists.
To clean the fridge door gaskets you will need:
- warm soapy water
- soft cloth
This is the cleaning process:
- clean inside the folds of the gasket to get all the grease and grime from the surface
- wipe the gasket dry with a new, clean cloth
- inspect the gasket to see if you’ve completely cleaned it or it needs some extra care
If the gasket is cracked:
A gasket can get worn down from frequent opening and closing of the door. If there are visible cracks or tares, it’s probably time to replace it. While you might be able to fix it with superglue, it will never be the same.
If the problem is not as visible, try the paper test, by placing a piece of paper between the door and the fridge and then closing the door. If the paper slips out easily, the gasket should be replaced because it’s not sealing properly.
To replace the gasket you will need to know the brand and model of your appliance. Then either order the gasket from the manufacturer’s parts website or visit a local appliance repair shop and allow them to take care of this for you.
How to replace fridge door gasket:
- When the new gasket arrives, take it out of the packaging and put it in a sink or tub. Let it soak in warm water for a few minutes while you remove the old gasket/seal from the fridge.
- To remove the old seal start from the top by grabing the edge on the inner side of the door and pulling it upwards. Now you should see a retaining plate that is attached with hex screws under the gasket. Use a screwdriver to loosen these screws and pull the gasket off. If there aren’t any screws, even better. Simply pull on the gasket to remove it.
- To put the new seal on, do the exact thing but in reverse order. Stick the longer lip of the seal behind the retainer or into the top groove, starting with the corners. Once the lip is in all the way around the door, tighten the screws and pull the seal over them.
- In case there aren’t any screws, there’s probably a second groove in the front. Likewise, the seal will have a smaller lip that goes into this second groove.
- Try closing the door and see if it’s working! If not, you may need to readjust the gasket a little to remove any odd gaps, but that should get the job done.
Reminder: This procedure for replacing a fridge gasket will work for many common appliances. But others might have extra grooves, snaps or buttons. Check the user manual if you’re concerned that there might be some extra steps. It’s usually available on the fridge manufacturer’s website.
If you’re more of a visual learner, this video tutorial on replacing a fridge door gasket will be helpful:
4. See if the fridge is level on the floor
A fridge door will sometimes not close automatically or shut properly if it’s sitting at an angle. Either from front to back or side to side. So check if it’s level on all sides. If not, you could place something under the lower side to even them out.
Alternatively, follow this procedure to level your fridge:
- Pull the grill from the bottom of the fridge to expose the feet and any leveling screws
- Rotate the leveling feet with pliers clockwise or counterclockwise to raise or lover the fridge. Perform this action until the bubble on the level rests between two vertical lines.
- Your fridge might have leveling crews next to the front feet. By turning these screws in one or the other direction with a screwdriver or nut driver you should be able to level the fridge.
- Return the grill back to original position when you’re done. If the grill is misshaped due to moving the fridge around it could also cause a leveling problem. In that case, consider replacing the grill.
5. Raise the front feet of the fridge a little
Furthermore, you could make your fridge door close automatically by raising the front feet a little. (source) Make sure that this doesn’t jeopardize any contents in the fridge.
While this is a quick and easy DIY trick, it doesn’t guarantee a tight seal. So if you have that problem along with the door not closing automatically, there’s probably another issue at hand from this list, like the closing cam on the refrigerator door.
6. Replace the closing cam on the fridge door
If the closing cam is malfunctioning it won’t allow you to close the fridge door automatically or create a perfect seal. You might need to replace it. Since you’ll need to remove the door first to do this, it’s best to remove the contents to another fridge or an insulated chest before starting this task. Here’s the closing cam replacement procedure:
- Turn the refrigerator/freezer thermostats to lowest level or completely off. Empty contents from the fridge and place them in another cooling appliance.
- Remove the screw holding the hinge cover. Then lift the hinge cover to expose the hinge.
- Remove the bolts holding the hinge by using a socket wrench or nut driver. Pull the hinge from the door.
- Grab the door with both hands and lift it up in order to remove it. Place it carefully on a flat work surface.
- Pry the nylon closing cam from the bottom of the door with a flathead screwdriver and insert a new closing cam into the door.
- Additionally, clean both the bottom hinge pin and closing cam with warm soapy water. Dry them and then coat with a small amount of petroleum jelly to optimize their performance.
- Return the fridge door on the bottom hinge pin. Follow this up by inserting the top hinge into the fridge door and securing it with the bolts you previously removed.
- Replace the hinge over and secure with the hinge cover screw to finalize this project.
- Lastly, return the contents back to the fridge and turn on the original settings. (source)
Things you will need:
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
- Soft cloths
- Phillips screwdriver
- Insulated chest
- Socket set
- Flathead screwdriver
- Replacement closing cam
- Petroleum jelly
This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually really simple and most people can pull it off even without any handyman experience. For further help, I suggest checking this video tutorial on replacing refrigerator door closing cam: